Senior lecturer in mental health nursing, Kim Moore, talks pay freezes and NHS care

It’s that time for Christmas treats, but with the continuing pay freezes and increasing costs of public transport above the rates of inflation, most nurses would be appalled to know that the same government denying them pay in-line with inflation are to receive a 1.8 per cent pay increase themselves.

Do the same conditions apply to our parliamentarians that have been imposed on nurses – is any potential pay rise being linked to performance-related pay? It strikes me that there is thought to this being applied to parliamentarians. Many of our ministers might argue that they work hard for the limited £74,000 pay they receive for their work in Parliament, with some members playing games on their iPads during parliamentary debates, sex scandals and abuse of additional payment schemes like expenses or the employment of relatives. If this was performance-related pay as experienced by many public sector workers then there would be an expectation of pay cuts, not pay rises.

Nurses like most public sector workers have experienced a wage freeze that equates to a 14 per cent pay cut over the past 10 years, whereas, in contrast, members of Parliament have reportedly received a 17 per cent pay rise since 2010, with a 10 per cent uplift in 2015 and an additional increase planned for 2017.  Clearly politicians have not been on a wage freeze – it seems they are exempt from this national task with regular pay increases above inflation.

I am not aware of any member of Parliament who is so poorly paid they needed to support their family by attending a food bank, but I am certainly aware of this need for some of my nursing colleagues. Is the government so out of touch with the public sector services that they cannot comprehend how this ignites more public fury? It seems we are not all ‘building a Britain fit for the future’ and those pay inequalities continue to widen; perhaps what is worse is that there seems to be no link to performance for these politicians.

As a nurse who has worked unsocial hours over all public holidays for many years, stayed late to cover shortages and care deeply about the work I do that I work unpaid over many hours, this is a slap in the face for Christmas this year and leaves me feeling trapped in a Dickensian tale and asking – ‘please sir, I want some more’.

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